Friday, January 11, 2008

Monofilament Fishing Line

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began a monofilament recycling program in 2006 in an effort to heighten awareness of the detrimental side effects of marine debris, especially fishing line.

Monofilament fishing line is a flexible plastic that is an entanglement danger to wildlife. The SCDNR recycling program is designed to provide an opportunity for recreational anglers to recycle, rather than mindlessly discard, used fishing line. The Ocean Conservancy’s image shows a Brown Pelican that died as a result fishing line entanglement. Some birds will also use the fishing line as nesting material, which can lead to the death of chicks due to entanglement (image, USFWS).

According to the SCDNR, “the urgency and importance of recycling monofilament has already been documented. Previous research in Florida has determined that between 1995 and 2000, about 35 dolphins in the Southeast have been fatally wounded from monofilament related injuries. The Florida Marine Research Institute documented over the course of four years 163 sea turtles entangled in monofilament. During the same study, more than 250 seabirds were rescued from hook and fishing line entanglements.”

The monofilament recycling bins are constructed of plastic culvert pipe and can be found on fishing piers, near public boat landings, and around popular destination areas for anglers. The images show the bin installed at Mallard Lake for the 30-member fishing club that was formed to accommodate the long-standing fishing presence that existed prior to the creation of the Francis Beidler Forest. Information on how you can participate in this recycling program can be found here.

Once collected, monofilament fishing line is melted into reusable plastic pellets, which are then fashioned into tackle boxes, spools for fishing line, artificial fish habitats, and other plastic products. Between 1990 and 2006, over seven million miles of monofilament was recycled.

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